As if that wasn’t enough… some typography & chalkboards

There’s just one day left before the Christmas Fayre (in case I hadn’t mentioned it recently). Though I have more items than I can fit on even a large table, the inspiration hasn’t stopped. I thought I would have a go at some mounted typography, so designed, cut out (ok, the Cameo did that bit), stuck together and mounted these two examples – which happened to be two verses from Sunday’s morning services (see the sermon sketchnote).

Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, I’m finishing off some MDF chalkboards – three down (one featured here), three almost done. The first is covered in old dictionary pages, and aged with a ‘dirty wash’ – a drop of DecoArt Media Raw Umber and a drop of Quinacridone Gold watered down, brushed over and splattered with water before drying and sealing with DecoArt Media Ultra Matte Varnish. The second started with squidged Distress Paints, sprayed with water, then dried and I used DecoArt Media Phthalo Blue as my dirty wash, before glazing with a watered down metallic blue acrylic paint. I then sealed with a gloss varnish with a bit of DecoArt Media Interference Blue mixed in. And the last – I’ve tangled it in Sakura Micron 08 black pigment ink over Dylusions Linen White paint (which when completely dry doesn’t clog the nib), sealed with DecoArt Media Ultra Matte Varnish.


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(Hopefully) Earning A Living as a Maker

As you know by now from previous posts, I have my first craft fair – the Whetstone Baptist Church Christmas Fayre – next Saturday. Here are some more makes: etched copper candlestick, beaded candles on individually etched glass plates, a resin encased watch-parts pendant and faux-enamelled jewellery pieces.

It’s been a tricky thing to price up all these items. I can easily work out the material costs. I know how much time each has taken to make. It’s a little harder to work out the time taken in research, and even more tricky to know exactly how much time and energy has gone into the development, trials and failures that are inevitable in making items. Throw into the mix what you think people are likely to be prepared to pay, what they might be able to afford, and what else might be on sale around you… Suffice to say that the marked prices for all the items on the stand will not reflect my time and skill set.

Trouble is, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the making process, designing the packaging, and setting up the stand. But will it pay off? Or the bills? I’ll let you know.

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Sermon Sketchnotes go digital


I’ve been lucky enough to get hold of an Apple iPad Pro, and used it this morning in church – not only to do my sermon sketchnotes direct to digital, but also used it for paperless music whilst playing the worship songs :)

I used Procreate app, creating a non-pressure responsive pen setting for the main text, drawing it live during the sermon. Later on, I added the colour layer beneath for extra emphasis. Using Procreate also allows me to show you the creative process as a time-lapse – you’ll see I’m still getting to grips with the interface, and the odd line appears where palm rejection isn’t quite up to the mark. That said, I’m very, very impressed with the app and the performance of the Pro/Pencil combo.


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Altered Art: After Magritte


On a recent trip to Norfolk, I was lucky enough to get to a very reputable cigar and pipe shop and bought my first Meerschaum pipe. For those not in the know, these are carved from a white mineral, and naturally colour as they bake with successive smokes. They’re not cheap, and to keep them safe, they come in bespoke cases. They’re particularly handy for smoking outdoors as they don’t burn through like wooden ones can when wind keeps the embers constantly alight. Imagine then my horror when on first smoke there was a sudden crack noise, and the bowl left the stem.

It seems that every now and then, there are flaws in the mineral that aren’t obvious, and being quite thin walled, the pipe just gave out. The dealer replaced it with absolutely no fuss and I’m pleased to say the replacement pipe is giving me a great deal of pleasure as I have my downtime.

Long story cut short – I now had a pipe case with no pipe. It was too nice to throw away, but not easy to find another use for. I remember seeing Magritte’s ‘Treachery of Images’ and loving the surrealist observation decided to make my homage. Thanks to a friend who is considerably more knowledgeable about French than I am, I was able to add my own tagline: ‘This is not a pipe either’. I plan to send the canvas to the great guys who dealt with me so helpfully, and hope they (and their customers) enjoy the joke.

[Acrylic on canvas, Liquid Pearls Onyx, found object. 20cm x 20cm]

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Arts in Worship: More Sermon Sketchnotes

I’ve not posted my sermon sketchnotes for a little while, so here’s a compendium of some more. These are all completed ‘live’ as the sermon progresses, and I don’t see anything but the title before I start. If you’d like to listen to the accompanying sermons, they are available on the Whetstone Baptist Church blog.

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[Completed in a pocket Moleskine sketchbook, with Lamy Safari pen with EF nib, and Noodler’s Bulletproof Black Ink.]

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Rusting An MDF Chalkboard


I’m still beavering away in the studio making items to sell at the church Christmas Fayre. Yesterday I used what I had learnt at Andy Skinner’s workshop I attended last weekend to create a faux rusted enamel frame and stand for this MDF chalkboard. As it happens, I actually prefer the back – some of the paint had seeped under and the ‘chips’ appear much more organic against the gesso undercoat:


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Mass Production Line: The Burley Christmas Cards


It’s that time of year again. That time when you’ve designed this year’s Christmas card, and it’s time to make all 75 cards that are apparently required. So, a mass production line swings into action. Here are some tips:

  • When heat embossing large numbers of images, consider getting a teppanyaki hot plate (top right). Cover with a heat resistant non-stick sheet, turn up to a temperature where the embossing powder just melts, and then as you stamp and add the powder to each piece, the previous piece is melting. Slide the piece off with the end of a paintbrush as the embossing powder finishes melting. Occasionally you may need to push the card to the hot surface (again with the end of a paintbrush) if it has curled up.
  • Liquid Pearl dots love to cling and merge to the next one if wet. In my mass production line, I dotted in the same place on each holly sprig before leaving the set to dry. After a minimum of an hour, I did the next dot on each sprig, and left them again. Finally the third dot was added in the same fashion.

    TOP TIP:
    If your Liquid Pearls is misbehaving, warm it up on a radiator or in your pocket. It become less viscous, flowing better and forming nice domes.

  • Assemble in batches – and take a break between batches to stretch, change your attention, and generally improve productivity. And prevent boredom!

As to the finished result – you’ll have to wait and see. Especially if you’re one of the lucky 75 that receives the real thing 😉

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